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Courtroom Observation - White V. Gibbs - Case Study

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White v. Gibbs

The case of White v. Gibbs of the Courtroom Observation assignment where Mrs. White sued Patrick Gibbs and the O'Malley's Tavern under Indiana's Dram Shop Act, Indiana Code 7.1-5-10-15.5 is one that was taken to the United States District Court due to the fact that parties in the case reside in two different states. This case stemmed from an accident between Mr. Edward Hard hitting the car of Mr. Bruno White and Mrs. Debbie White. The lawsuit is by Mrs. White to recover damages by the defendants,Patrick Gibbs, the bartender, and the tavern that was serving alcohol to Mr. Hard while Mr. White was killed in the accident. There is a biblical take that will be displayed in this observation to shed light on a horrifying situation.

The court has the defendants making a motion for a summary judgment, hoping for a judgment in their favor as a matter of law. A summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party against a second party without having to go to a full trial. In other words, the defendants don't believe they did anything out of their normal proceedings at O'Malley's Tavern. They motion for the summary judgment to get a judgment to avoid having a full blown trial.

The plaintiff in the case of White v. Gibbs and the O'Malley's Tavern is Mrs. Deborah White. The counsel for Mrs. White is represented by Moot court attorneys Amanda Babbitt and Jackson Walsh; whereas, the defendants are Patrick Gibbs and Stand Alone Properties, L.L.C. With Moot court defense attorneys Jordan Van Meter and Benjamin Walton. A Moot court is one where the witnesses aren't giving actual testimony, rather it is focused on the actual law as it pertains to the case at hand. Usually, students of law will spend a majority of their time researching and writing the memorials in a particular semester and following up the next semester with practicing the actual oral arguments.

In the case, we find out that the State of Indiana requires that the plaintiff must meet all of the following criteria so that they can recover damages. The first being that the defendants must have had some actual knowledge of the person that was served the alcoholic beverages were obviously intoxicated when they were given alcohol. Also, the State of Indiana requires that the person whom was given the alcoholic beverages was a proximate cause of the injury, damage, or as in this case death in the complaint. The goal in the courtroom proceeding is to challenge the State of Indiana law regarding material fact. On the other hand, the plaintiff wants this case to go straight to trial.

The incident occurred on the evening of Saturday, July 28, 2007, when Bruno White was killed and his newlywed wife Deborah White also sustained significant injuries after Edward Hard crashed his car into their vehicle. Prior to the accident, Mrs. Deborah White was escorted by Mr. Bruno White to the O'Malley's Tavern in Gary, Indiana at around seven o'clock at night. Mr. Edward Hard, who was a regular customer of the bar, was already at the bar that evening. Mr. Hard was formerly engaged to Mrs. White prior to her marriage. When Mr. and Mrs. White arrived at the bar that evening, they were met by Mr. Hard soon thereafter. "Almost immediately after they walked in, Mr. Hard approached the Whites, kindly offered his congratulations regarding their marriage and returned to his stool at the bar to resume drinking."(Gumprecht) As soon as Mr. Hard had given his apparent blessing, he proceeded to return to his bar stool at the bar to continue on drinking. "The White's arrived around 7:00 p.m. And ordered food and drinks. (Gumprecht) While the White's had dinner and it stated that they ordered drinks, the drinks were not of an alcoholic nature and were just normal beverages. Mr. Hard on the other hand had an extensive bar tab filled with alcoholic drinks that evening. John Daniels, who was the bartender the evening of the incident, stated that Edward Hard drink about four to six shots of a hard liquor in just under a half of an hour that was clocked at about twenty eight minutes. Mr. John Daniels served Mr. Hard every one of his drinks and shots that evening as he was the only bartender that was working that night. Mr. Daniels is a licensed bartender so he had the legal ability to be serving him the drinks. Edward Hard did stand up at one point and knocked over his stool as many observers in the tavern that night witnessed Mr. Hard fall into the floor after finishing off his final shot of the evening. Mr. Hard finally regained his composure and sat back up on his stool to be presented with another beer that was served by the bartender, Mr. Daniels. The couple finished their meal and decided to leave the bar, but the White's were met by Mr. Hard shouting out "She should be my wife!" Mr. Hard saw the couple beginning to leave the O'Malley's Tavern and followed them as he lifted his hard in an attempt to throw a punch or hit one of the White's, but Mr. Hard's effort left him once again falling to the ground as he swung. Meanwhile, the White's were pulling out of the parking lot of O'Malley's Tavern as Mr. Hard rose to his feet and began to chase the White's vehicle in the parking lot while shouting out, "This isn't over yet"(Gumprecht) By this time, Mr. Daniels notices that Mr. Hard is very much so intoxicated.

After the White's had gotten into their vehicle and drove away from the O'Malley's Tavern, they began to be pursued and followed by Mr. Hard who had just gotten into his own vehicle. Mrs. White, realizing the potential danger, called 911 for emergency assistance. "Approximately a half-mile from the tavern, Mr. White turned left while Mr. Hard, driving on the wrong side of the street and without slowing down, slammed into the Whites' driver-side door" (Gumprecht). The collision between the two vehicles forced by Mr. Hard caused the death of Mr. White and gave Mrs. White severe injuries to the left side of her body. "Beyond the emotional suffering incurred by Mrs. White as the result of the death of her husband Mrs. White has sustained significant injuries to the left side of her body"(Gumprecht)

Next, the police investigation on Mr. Hard's blood alcohol level was more than double the legal limit. The actual level observed by the police as a blood alcohol level of 0.20, whereas the legal limit to be driving a vehicle in the state of Indiana is 0.08. Also mentioned in the police investigation, Mr. Daniels had made sure to state that Mr. Hard appeared to be intoxicated when exiting the tavern. It is apparent that he was heavily intoxicated

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